Nicaragua - Farmer to Farmer
Matagalpa and Boaco
Organic coffee farm known as Canaan
MOMBACHITO, Nicaragua—“We used to live in a village where nobody took us into account, we didn’t have an ongoing place to work, and I used to work for various farmers in order to support my wife and three children,” says Ricardo Rodriguez, husband and father of three in Mombachito, Nicaragua.
“We were a poor and disillusioned family without hope—without a future of opportunities. But one day a blessing came from God.”
Rodriquez remembers the excitement he felt that day in 2002. “A man came to my home and asked if I wanted to take part in a group of farmers in Mombachito, to be provided a parcel of land, which we could pay for through long-term easy repayments. My wife and I could not believe it. It was a dream come true!”
Rodriguez grew up in central Nicaragua, using his hands to cultivate rice, corn, red beans, and plantains. Yet, like many others, he didn’t have access to affordable property, nor the means to purchase land through affordable loans. Instead, he rented land or worked inconsistently for larger farms, often earning less than minimum wage.
The change began when a partnership was formed. In 2002, North American farmers and local Nicaraguan farmers had joined forces through Partners Worldwide, and for months, communicated back and forth about the need to strengthen farms, create jobs, and overcome poverty. It didn’t take long before the need for land ownership surfaced. The shared goal as the Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) partnership began.
Within a long year, these once-landless farmers acquired parcels of land to generate food for their families—no easy task. Rodriguez remembers the sadness and disillusion he experienced the first year. Many farmers left due to economic troubles and weather conditions.
In 2008, Rodriguez and other farmers also started roasting and exporting organic coffee beans to a niche market in the United States that the North American partners helped them create.
Today, F2F partners with 56 farmers on 6 land banks in Nicaragua. North American partners mentor Nicaraguan farmers on essential farming and sustainable agriculture techniques. According to Rodriguez, the key to the success is that strong relationships between both sides have been formed.
“My partners and I now consider Mombachito to be a farm we know as Canaan,” says Rodriguez, who cultivates enough profitable crop to set aside savings for the future. “Since then, my life is filled with dreams and hopes, which are coming true for me and my family, little by little.”